A drink I have been making this month which has been very well received by all who tried it is something I call a Bitter Orange Bourbon.
It is an excellent cold-weather cocktail.
I first had the drink (or something very similar, sans the orange bitters) at the Farmers Market restaurant in Petersburg, when it was held briefly by previous management. In mixology, there is nothing new under the sun. Sometimes you will have a drink that inspires you, but you may want to modify it slightly to make it your own. All the drinks on the Farmer’s Market menu had Civil War related names, due to the Petersburg aspect. Unlike ships, you can change the name of a cocktail without ensuring yourself bad luck.
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How to make a Bitter Orange Bourbon
To make this drink, mull a healthy slice of orange in the bottom of a good sized glass and add one or two jiggers of bourbon (depending on the day you have had) and a jigger of Cointreau. This drink can be made with two parts bourbon and one part orange liqueur or equal parts of each. Try it both ways and see what you prefer. Splash in two or three dashes of orange bitters, fill the glass with ice and top it off with ginger ale. Done.
Cointreau is a fantastic liqueur that is incredibly versatile. The French know what they have, and charge accordingly. There are a couple of cheaper versions of orange liqueur available at the liquor store, which are acceptable for this recipe, such as Gala and Harlequin. These other liqueurs, like Cointreau, are unusual for liqueurs in that they are 40% alcohol, which makes them just as potent as the bourbon.
The same applies to bourbon as to the shelf level used. The world is currently going through a fad as to boutique bourbons, and people have no problem paying $50 or $60 for a fifth. I have still yet to meet any bourbon or sour mash that I consider to be superior to Jack Daniels, or generally more drinkable. For me, old habits and fidelities die hard.
If you are going to mix bourbon (or sour mash) with oranges, liqueurs and ginger ale, it makes no difference which one you use. In my opinion, top shelf liquors only matter when you use them with zero to one other ingredient.
Oddly, the same principle does not apply to ginger ale. I consider generic ginger ale to be a most inferior product. I am not sure if carbonation is the most expensive component of a soft drink, but all of the generic brands seem to skimp on it.
An excellent cold weather cocktail!
- 3 oz Bourbon
- 1.5 oz Cointreau
- Orange bitters
- Ginger ale
To make this drink, mull a healthy slice of orange in the bottom of a good sized glass.
Add one or two jiggers of bourbon (depending on the day you have had) and a jigger of Cointreau. *
Splash in two or three dashes of orange bitters.
Fill the glass with ice.
Top it off with ginger ale.
*This drink can be made with two parts bourbon and one part orange liqueur or equal parts of each.